School Board Seeks to Kick County Recycling Centers Off Campuses

The recycling containers at Hillsboro Charter Academy could be relocating after complaints from the schools’ administration—but it’s not clear where.

The School Board has asked the county to remove the recycling drop-off containers from the Hillsboro Charter Academy and Park View High School. Both properties have been collection sites since the county government created the recycling program in 1990, and in 1993 the county government took over managing them. In September of this year, HCA Board of Directors Chairman Ben Lenhart asked that the county recycling center at the school be removed because of safety concerns.

During a meeting of the Joint School Board/Board of Supervisors Committee on Wednesday, county Department of General Services Director Ernie Brown said since then, his staff has tried to address the problem.

“There have been some observed and validated concerns about security at the Hillsboro site,” Brown confirmed. “So, we have tried to work closely with that administration to seek some mitigating solutions, whether it be cameras, restricted times of use, and additional fencing. We have not been able to find security measures that met the administration’s satisfaction there.”

He said a staff member’s car had been broken into in connection to someone visiting the recycling site.

School Board Member Jeff Morse (Dulles) said bulky garbage items like furniture have also been left at the site.

“We’re talking about school facilities, so keeping the facility clean is relatively important, but the security of the students is the number one concern,” Morse said. “So, when you have people coming onto school property to doing something other than school business, that by itself should be something that we should seek an alternate path.”

Supervisors were open to those concerns. Committee co-chairman Supervisor Ralph M. Buona (R-Ashburn) said the options for county-owned collection sites in western Loudoun are “extremely limited.”

“So, if we had to leave, I think one of the things we would ask for is, we need time. We need time to figure out our options,” Buona said.

Supervisors were less receptive to the idea of moving the larger Park View recycling center, which Brown said is very popular and heavily used. He said there have not been any recorded security concerns at that site, which sits on a larger lot and further from the school building.

Morse said the School Board asked to move that recycling center for “consistency of policy.”

“I’m just a little confused,” said County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large). “There haven’t been any complaints, there haven’t been any security concerns, you can put a fence around it … why are we talking about moving this site at all?”

Buona said the School Board is not being reasonable with the request at Park View.

“We want to encourage our residents to recycle, and we think the schools could be a good partner in helping us do that rather than saying ‘get off my land,’” Buona said.

Supervisors asked the county staff to return to the next joint committee meeting with options for relocating the recycling collection facilities at Hillsboro Charter Academy. The committee next meets Feb. 11.

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